What to do if my hours have been unreasonably increased?

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What to do if my hours have been unreasonably increased?

I’m an hourly employee and when I was hired 3 years ago my work hours were 8 to 5, Monday, Thursday and Friday. Then 3 months ago all of us were put on a 60 hour week, 12 hour days, 5 days a week. Is this legal and what recourse do I have beside quitting? I have 2 small children and only see them a hour or so a day. This work schedule puts a big burden on my husband who has a full-time job as well. I do get OT for my extra hours but this schedule is wearing me out.

Asked on December 22, 2011 under Employment Labor Law, Virginia

Answers:

M.D., Member, California and New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 9 years ago | Contributor

Basically, you probably have no recourse other than to quit if you can't work out a more acceptable arrangement with your employer. That is unless such scheduling violates existing company policy, an employment contract or union agreement. You would also have legal rights if your work schedule in some way constitutes a form of actionable discrimination. The reason is that most employment relationships at "at will". This means that an employer has a great deal of discretion in setting the terms and conditions of the workplace; this includes how many hours to schedule employees.

Note: If you are a non-exempt (typically hourly) employee you are entitled to overtime for any week in which you work over 40 hours.


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